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Yemen: UNHCR Operational Update, 2 July 2020

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IDP Response

A total of 32,000 IDP families will receive a direct distribution of some USD 5 M, starting from next week. The fourth cash distribution for this year in the northern part of Yemen is underway, as well as the third distribution for areas in the south, including verification of family details to receive cash for rent, food and medicine. So far this year, USD 11 M has been distributed to more than 56,000 IDP families. UNHCR continues to increase the number of tellers at banks, double the number of payment points, set up hand-washing stations and implement appropriate spacing at cash collections points to avoid overcrowding.

A worrying trend for mental health and psychosocial support is being observed across Yemen. In Sa’ada, Al Jawf, Hajjah and Hudaydah governorates, most of the calls and psychosocial counselling related to anxiety and fear over COVID-19. Growing socio-economic concerns linked to job losses were also recorded, including suicidal thoughts and uncertainty over securing work.

So far this year, the Protection Cluster led by UNHCR reached 70,000 families through protection assessments, including the provision of civil documentation, legal advice, counselling and representation, and dispute resolutions. The Cluster partners also provided 30,300 families with much-needed cash for protection services, such as psychosocial support and case management.

UNHCR Field Office Hudaydah began constructing eight community spaces in Hajjah and Hudaydah governorates to provide a platform for humanitarian and community events. In particular, the spaces will be used for the provision of emergency items, awareness-raising, joint skill training and fostering interaction between IDPs, vulnerable host communities and humanitarian actors. Once operational, the centre will employ social distancing and hygiene procedures as necessary.

Refugee Response

Resettlement interviews resumed after a three-month pause due to the pandemic, in line with the joint statement between UNHCR and IOM’s resumption of resettlement travel for refugees. A total of 15 refugee families (comprising 52 individuals) have been identified so far. Despite the ongoing need for resettlement—in light of six years of violence and displacement—Yemen has not received a quota for 2020 and currently relies on the regional unallocated share. A mere 368 refugees departed from Yemen over the last five years.

Somali community leaders referred 51 Somali refugees to UNHCR who had been forcibly relocated to the south from the border cities with KSA. UNHCR is following up to ensure they receive appropriate assistance, including registration support. Rapid protection assessments showed that food and shelter remained their most pressing needs. Overall, some 286 Somali refugees have arrived in the south from De Facto Authority-controlled areas in recent months in the wake of the pandemic. Many have reported stigmatization and discrimination based on the unfounded belief that their displacement status is spreading COVID19. UNHCR assisted with registration, documentation, COVID-19 awareness, and cash assistance to help with their most urgent needs, including food and shelter.